Guatemala's elPeriódico reports that Guatemala's Ministerio de Educación has began a detailed evaluation of both the One Laptop Per Child program and Intel's "World Ahead" program which uses it's Classmate PC system.
One Laptop Per Child sent down Rodrigo Arboleda Halaby, a visiting scholar at MIT Media Lab, with a 2B1 Children's Machine laptop prototype, to lobby the Education Ministry. While we don't know what was said, I would hope that Rodrigo Arias, the lead technology investigator, look past the shiny OLPC 2B1 mock-up.
In fact, I would suggest that Mr. Arias focus on Nicholas Negroponte's constant saying: "It's an education project, not a laptop project." Focus on how either program would integrate into and improve Guatemala's current education system, not on either gadget.
The United States Agency for International Development's five year report on Increasing Education Access, Quality, and Equity in Guatemala confirms this approach:
Original interactive educational materials can be crated at relatively low cost, even in remote and resource poor areas [of Guatemala].So while One Laptop Per Child has focused on its stunning technological revolution, from its dual-mode screen to its
Neither prior technological skills nor sophisticated infrastructure is needed to implement an effective educational technology activity. However, integrating technology into the curriculum and teaching practices is a long process and requires making pedagogy rather than technology the center of attention.
The main description of how the 2B1 Children's Machine will integrate into the classroom is the Learning Vision wiki entry: Laptops will enable children to "learn learning" and liberate students to "actively engage with others with similar interests in cultures of learning". Teachers will "focus their experience and expertise where most needed," with those needs undefined.
Rodrigo Arias might also want to ask Rodrigo Arboleda Halaby about Education for Peace project, his laptops in education program using the Constructionist approach for Colombia, an approach also championed by OLPC. Past a pretty PowerPoint, it seems to have disappeared.
Better yet, where are the published results from the 2B1 Foundation's famous laptops for Cambodian schoolchildren project? The very project that Negroponte often refers to as his proof of concept for one laptop for every student.
So while One Laptop Per Child's revolutionary 2B1 Children's Machine is an amazing technological advance, a laptop that I would love to buy, it is without a clear implementation plan or track record.
And OLPC leaves Guatelama without a clear path to make pedagogy, rather than technology, the center of attention.